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 Army chief Bipin Rawat Army chief Bipin Rawat

Attempts being made through 'external linkages' to 'revive' insurgency in Punjab, Assam: Army chief Bipin Rawat

Nov 04, 2018

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Saturday said that attempts are being made through "external linkages" to "revive insurgency" in Punjab and warned that it will be too late if early action is not taken.

"Punjab has been peaceful but because of these external linkages, attempts again are being made to revive insurgency in the state," he said.

Rawat also said that attempts were being made again through "external linkages" and "external abetment" to revive insurgency in Assam.

He was addressing a gathering of senior Army officers, defence experts and former senior officials of government and police at a seminar in New Delhi on 'Changing Contours of Internal Security in India: Trends and Responses'.

"We have to be very careful. Let us not think that Punjab (situation) is over. We cannot close our eyes to what is happening in Punjab. And, if we do not take early action now, it will be too late," the Army chief said.

Punjab saw one of the worst phases of insurgencies in the 1980s during the pro-Khalistan movement which was eventually quelled by the government.

Former Uttar Pradesh DGP Prakash Singh in a panel discussion also highlighted the issue and said "attempts were being to revive insurgency" in Punjab.

He referred to a pro-Khalistan rally organised recently in the UK aiming for a 'Referendum 2020'.

Hundreds of people had turned out at Trafalgar Square in London on August 12 in support of a pro-Khalistan rally as well as to counter the event with an Independence Day celebrations. Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) had said its rally was intended to raise awareness for a non-binding referendum in 2020, calling for Punjab to be granted independence.

The "We Stand With India" and "Love My India" events were organised by Indian diaspora groups as a reaction to the pro-Khalistan "London Declaration for a Referendum 2020".

Internal security is one of the biggest problems in the country, but question is "why we have not been able to find a solution, because it has external linkages," Gen Rawat said.

The event was organised by defence think-tank CLAWS (Centre for Land and Warfare Studies). Rawat is its patron.

Asserting that insurgency cannot be dealt with military force, he pitched for adopting an approach in which all agencies, the government, civil administration, military and police work in an "integrated manner".

"The resolution of Naga insurgency can be forerunner to the Manipur insurgency situation. There are some linkages between the two. But, if that resolution does not satisfy Manipuris then the insurgency in that state will take a different turn," Rawat said.

As far as Assam is concerned, attempts are again being made, through "external linkages" to revive insurgency in the state, he said.

And, also through external abetment, and acknowledged once even by the "northern neighbour". So, there is no denying the fact that there are these factors, Rawat added.

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